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The Traveling Vampire Show

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  7,337 ratings  ·  441 reviews
Though gloomy with clouds, it is a hot, August morning in the summer of 1963. All over the rural town of Grandville, tacked to power poles and trees, taped to store windows, blowing along the sidewalks, fliers have appeared announcing the mysterious one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show.

The show will feature Valeria, the only known vampire in captivity.
Mass Market Paperback, 391 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Leisure Books (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,337 ratings  ·  441 reviews

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Edward Lorn
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Normally I would delete my old review and write another one, but my previous review is so epically bad that I want to show myself how far I’ve come not only as a writer but as a critic as well. (Wow… that sounded pompous as fuck. I mean, I know I’m awesome, but that shit’s uncalled for.) Anyfuck, if you want a good laugh, read on after the final judgment for my original review… *cringes*

The Traveling Vampire Show has long been on my Top 20 Reads of All Time. Going into this reread, I was scared
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

I actually read this several weeks go, but never got around to reviewing it because I knew I had to get prepared for the backlash first . . . .

Apparently I read it wrong. But guess what?????

The premise here was a good one – Dwight and his friends Slim and Rusty see flyers all over town advertising a “Traveling Vampire Show.” The hint of danger and an “18 and over” requirement are enough to lead the trio into temptation and the
Dan Schwent
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Teenagers Dwight, Rusty, and Slim are an inseparable trio. When they see that the Traveling Vampire Show is coming to town, seeing the only vampire in captivity becomes the most important thing in the world.

The Traveling Vampire Show is a coming of age tale akin to Stephen King's The Boy or Robert McCammon's A Boy's Life, taking place in a single day in 1963. As the title indicates, the story revolves around the three teenagers' quest to attend the Traveling Vampire Show. Straight-laced Dwight,
Michael Fierce
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Stephen King, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dark Carnival horror
Recommended to Michael Fierce by: the ghost of Ray Bradbury

So you know, I've been a Richard Laymon fan for 30 + yrs now, having gotten into him while searching for a list of books recommended by Stephen King while visiting The Dark Carnival, in Berkeley, CA, my favorite bookstore.

The handful of books I have by Mr. Laymon, I've read several times and thought they were good, some frighteningly good ~ with the exception of The Stake which I have tried to read a few times and it just never bit me hard enough to keep me craving for more.

So far, my
2.5/5 stars!

As I was listening to this, I came to realize that I've read it before. A few things, like the name Julian Striker and one of the character's sisters rang a bell with me. Other than that, because I have a mind like a steel sieve, the rest of the story seemed new, so I went with it. Now that's it over, I am glad that I read it while at the same time I wish I ditched it. As you can see, I'm torn.

What I liked: The beginning. The coming of age portion-kids walking around and learning
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, favorites
I've read a few Laymon novels with varying levels of enjoyment. Resurrection Dreams I enjoyed for its gory over-the-top fun but I just couldn't get into Flesh or Funland .

Despite its title this book is not about vampires. It's about three 16 year old friends and their fascination with visiting the upcoming vampire show. It has moments of gore but mainly it's a coming of age tale focusing on these young kids. The lusty thoughts which I've come to expect from a Laymon book, and which usually
Horace Derwent
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i want somebody to tell me, answer if you can; i just want somebody to tell me, what is the soul of a man?--Ramblin' Jack Elliott

when you look over your shoulder, can you just see america's been left behind your back? can you feel the ineffable silence which has fallen onto life? and do you feel that you're alone?

last month, when me and my friend sat beside the sidewalk while he had his break during his work of gym card sales(he gave out leaflets then), we supped beer and nibbled dry pork
Mar 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
This. Book. Sucked.
Okay, first the plus side: Slim is awesome.
And that's about it for the plus side.
On the minus side: We have to see the awesome character Slim through the eyes of this annoying teenage boy who spends nearly ever scene she's in describing her butt.
Also on the minus side: Pretty much all the other characters were downright annoying. I was very disappointed they didn't ALL (except Slim) die horrible deaths at the end.
Once again on the minus side: This book was painfully BORING
I’ll start with the positive. Bob Barnes, the reader. 5 big shiny for you! I’d listen to a lot more books read by him.
Now, the negative. This whole story. I’m not sure how long this book is but its way too long. As I have my own boobs, I’m not fascinated by them so listening to 2 Days worth of a book that is constant fantasizing by a 16 yr. old boy isn’t really doing a damn thing for me. Vampires? There isn’t one til the last little bit.
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
This was my first Richard Laymon book and it won't be my last.

It was a book that was beautifully done. It was a coming of age story that had characters that I fell in love with. This book was filled with girl power, Slim and Lee were powerfully written. They were brave,true and strong.
When Slim quoted a few lines of the St.Crispin's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V.,I was verklempt.
It was a pleasure to read a horror novel with strong female characters.
And what can I say about Dwight,a
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I actually read this book twice. The first time I didn't care for it all that much. Maybe it was because I had just read Dan Simmon's classic SUMMER OF NIGHT, and THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW was the follow-up. Was I subconsciously comparing the two? Could be...
Years later I got to wondering if maybe I missed something in Laymon's writing. I love coming-of-age stories and vampires, so I decided to give the book another shot. I'm so glad I did! This story is sad, funny, scary, and just a plain good
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is much different from other Richard Laymon books I have read, lacks the sex and gore typical of his books, and moves at a much slower, suspense-building pace. I absolutely loved it! It is hot, the summer of 1963, and three teenagers, Dwight, Rusty, and Slim, are anxious to see the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show, which claims to have the only living vampire in captivity, Valeria, at the legendary Janks Field. As soon as they head out to Janks Field to get a ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
My first Laymon book, and it is most definitely not a book for anyone that is easily offended. Even if you aren't, another hurdle presents itself, are you willing to cringe your way through a bunch of unnecessary sexual content? Sooo much, at least a metric fuck-ton worth. Still here? Well, you must be a huge fan of Vampires then. Don't let the them keep you here, because this isn't even really a vampire centric story.

The Traveling Vampire Show is actually a fun coming-of-age story set in the
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the first Richard Laymon book that I read and the last he wrote before he died. It is an amazing book and won him posthumously the Stoker award of 2001. Though Laymon is not for everyone, his writing is filled with graphic nudity and often quite disturbing violence and images, many of his stories have a coming of age aura to them, and every book of his that I have read I was literally unable to put down until I finished it. He has definitely become one of my favorites. And I cannot ...more
Sep 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, vampire
I was totally disappointed in this book. I was expecting a chiller, and instead got a book about teenagers killing time. Halfway through the book we watched the protagonists do laundry, LAUNDRY! We don't even get to the Vampire Show until after page 400, and then the whole plot goes inexplicably bonkers. There were all sorts of loose ends left throughout the book that I was waiting to be resolved, but just left me with a bitter 'wtf' flavor in my mouth.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I liked this audio. A lot.

It's sort of like "Something Wicked This Way Comes" with more realistic boys and some raunch.
Anthony Vacca
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Traveling Vampire Show comes at the end of The Traveling Vampire Show because The Traveling Vampire Show is The Traveling Vampire Show’s metaphor for death, in particular, the death of sexual innocence and how that death defines the kind of person you will become if you survive The Traveling Vampire Show. Got me? This later, Bram-Stoker-Award-winning novel by Laymon is what counts for a “mature work” in the oeuvre of an author who had previously published a novel titled Flesh and another ...more
Vicki Willis
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read something by Richard Laymon I think to myself, why don't I read more of him? This was no exception. This was a fantastic book that every time I picked it up I didn't want to put it down.
Vampires really aren't my thing, but this was much more than a vampire story. It was about 3 teenagers and a few sidekicks out on an adventure. It brought me back to the times of my childhood before cell phones when kids were able to run amuck all summer all over town.
The tension ran high
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
I'm a huge fan of October and everything creepy / Halloween related. I recently went through a ton of my mom's old paperbacks and found several books from her horror phase. I set The Traveling Vampire Show aside as a creepy read this month but I'm sad to say it wasn't my cup of tea.

In the summer of '63, friends Dwight, Rusty, and Slim are determined to make it to Janks Field for a one night only performance! The show features the only vampire in captivity, the stunning Valeria.
There are a few
Slim is awesome
Rusty is nasty and crude
Richard Laymon was a fucking pervert
I'm pretty sure about that too
Quentin Wallace
This was the second Laymon book I've read, and much like the first, I find myself torn about it. On one hand, it was very interesting and kept my attention throughout. On the other, I think about half the book could have been cut and you'd have had a stronger novel.

It's part horror and part coming-of-age young adult. Basically you follow a group of friends on a day back in 1963. A "Traveling Vampire Show" is coming to town, supposedly with a real vampire on display. The problem I had is things
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I didn't have high hopes for this book after having read the Beasthouse Series, which although not bad, was fairly bland for my tastes. I was pleasantly surprised by this story, which was far more heartfelt and character driven. The entire story takes place in less than 24 hours, though a few flashbacks add into the depth of the tale. The story revolves around 3 friends - Dwight (who is the voice of the book), Rusty, and Slim (who changes her name depending on her favorite book at the moment). ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's time to admit an unpleasant truth.

Richard Laymon Novels and I are no longer an item.

For a good decade beginning in my teens, Richard Laymon was my go-to horror author. I scoured my local library reading anything and everything by him I could get my hands on. My Dad even joined in the fun. We'd take turns reading his newest and then share our perspectives on what we enjoyed or felt missed the mark. This continued right up until my Dad moved out of home to live with his new partner but I
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who are like suuuuuper fuckin' stoked about shirts
The American Shirts Council enthusiastically endorses... The Traveling Vampire Show!

There are so goddamn many shirts in this book, man. People choosing shirts, buttoning or unbuttoning shirts, shirts soiled or soaked or torn, shirts removed, loaned out, repurposed as weapons, bandages, towels, shirts laundered or changed into or lost or found, shirts removed or discovered or fantasized about, shirts causing inconvenience, shirts saving the day or destroying it, shirts shirts shirts shirts shirts
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rade by: Edward Lorn
Shelves: reviewed
Laymon was a pervert. I understand teenagers tend to be high on some kind of hormone that makes them extremely horny but this was ridiculous. For most of the book (I am talking about 70% or maybe even 80% mark) all the characters do is...dick around, eat burgers, make dumb jokes, make out, DO LAUNDRY FOR F*CK"S SAKE and recall things that happened in the past. There was no vampires up until this point (to be honest, (view spoiler) ...more
Adam Light
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it

I liked the concept, and the execution was nearly spot-on; the story is set in the early sixties and was rich with details from that era. The characters were very life-like. There was a lot of the author's trademark off-beat humor infused into the narrative, as well.
This story was suspenseful, and built to a pretty satisfying conclusion, and it was almost perfectly paced. I bought it for my Kindle Fire, and have to point out that there were many typos and the author's name popped up in the
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Most of Laymon's books, as I read them, I ask myself "what is WRONG with me? I must be SICK to enjoy this stuff!!!" But this was a (relatively) lighter fare - sort of a coming of age fable, in a way. And, well, I enjoy anything having to do with vampires - as long as the vampires don't (completely) lose . . . :-)= That said, this, like any Laymon work, isn't for the faint of heart, nor for those who are looking for a happily-ever-after ending. Laymon wrote TRUE horror, which is becoming ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Wow! I REALLY enjoyed this book. So much so, that I stayed up WAY too late to finish it because it was just so suspenseful. I seriously could not put it down for even one second! I really liked the writing style, not to mention the very-charming characters. And while not everything was explained, it somehow didn't bother me as much as it normally would... everything just worked. And the author is from Illinois!! I will DEFINITELY be keeping an eye out for other books by him! What an exciting ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I must say this is the most unusual coming of age story I've ever read. It's also a different twist on vampires, and one of those books where you're never quite sure what actually was going on. This one is pretty gory, but enjoyable. Although the main characters are all kids, this one is not a good book for a very young reader (less than 16 years of age).
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Richard Laymon was born in Chicago and grew up in California. He earned a BA in English Literature from Willamette University, Oregon and an MA from Loyola University, Los Angeles. He worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian, and a report writer for a law firm, and was the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels.

He also published more than sixty short stories in magazines such as Ellery Queen,
“It's been my experience that worse-case scenarios are very rare indeed. Rare to the extend that you can almost count on them not happening.” 0 likes
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